Kids in Hot Cars: State Senators Want Alarms Mandatory in Daycare Vans

Last week, state Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, filed a bill that would make it mandatory for vehicles to have safety alarms if they are designed to carry more than six children. She called it the "Haile Brockington Act," after a Delray Beach toddler who died after being left in a hot daycare van.

The alarms would remind drivers to check for all children who are supposed to be present. In a statement, Berman said, "We should not have to wait until innocent children die to realize the urgency; these deaths are preventable."

According to Kidsandcars.org, an organization that keeps track of grim statistics like nontraffic fatalities, 33 kids died from being stuck in hot cars in 2011.

New Times explored the issue in 2010, and a similar examination of the issue won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009.

Berman and state Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, have tried unsuccessfully to pass similar laws for the past two years. Palm Beach County passed a similar law in 2011.

The alarms in question activate when a driver shuts off the ignition. A voice recording blares, reminding him to check for children. To turn off the alarm, he has to go to the back of the bus and press a button. If he doesn't, an exterior alarm will go off. These cost about $600, according to maker Atwec technologies.

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